Police departments, Insurance companies, and Security experts all agree that the most important security tip is "Always Lock Your Bike!” The majority of personal bicycle thefts occur because the bike wasn't locked at all. It is just as important to lock that bike, motorcycle, lawn mower or BBQ in your garage or shed as it is to lock your bike on the street.
Below you will find a list of tips we have learned throughout our years of experience in bicycle security.
- Always lock your bike, especially at home (even in the garage, apartment building or college dorm). This helps to protect against lift-away, as well as roll-away and ride-away theft, always lock your bicycle to a fixed immovable object that is cemented or otherwise anchored to the ground. Beware of locking it to items that can be easily cut or broken, such as small trees, aluminum or wooden posts, and chain link fences.
- Lock to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter or permanent bike rack. Be careful not to lock to items that can be easily cut, broken or removed. Be careful that your bike cannot be lifted over the top of the object to which it is locked.
- Lock in a visible and well-lit area.
- Lock in a location where there are other bikes. The chances are better that there will be a bike with a less secure lock than yours. Thieves will usually go for the easiest target.
- When using a U-lock, position your bike frame and wheels so that you fill or take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock up, the harder it is for a thief to use tools to attack your lock.
- Always position a U-lock so that the keyway is facing down towards the ground. Don't position the lock close to the ground. A higher position makes it more difficult for a thief to attack it.
- Always lock bicycles being transported on car racks, trailers or the back of truck beds.
- Always secure your components and accessories, especially quick-release components, with a secondary cable lock.
- If you have a combination lock, write down your combination in a safe place where you will not lose it.
- Protect your combination. Just like a Bank PIN, you should not share this with anyone.
- Store your spare keys in a safe place like a safety deposit box. Not only will you know where they are if you should need them, but no one else will be able to access them and potentially steal your bike. (Give one to your mother!)
- Don't lock your bike to itself (the front or rear wheel locked to frame). It can be easily lifted and carried away.
- Don't lock in the same location all the time. A thief may notice the pattern and target your bike.
- Don't lock to anything posted illegal. Check with area law enforcement agencies for local bike parking regulations.
- Always check your lock before leaving your bike to be sure you have secured it properly.
- For the best protection always use a high-security U-lock or chain. Cables may be convenient to use, but are generally less secure than U-locks and high-security chains. For maximum protection use a combination of locks such as a U-lock or chain and a cable lock. The longer it takes a thief to get through your bike security, the less likely your bike will be stolen.
- If you see someone else who is not locking their bike, or is locking it incorrectly, be a Good Samaritan and share some of these tips with them. You’ll build Karma points.